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Satyr Holding Maenad

Goat-footed satyrs and maenads (“raving” women) were mythical followers of the Greek god Dionysos. Stories surrounding their escapades were popular subjects, particularly the attempts of drunken satyrs to capture maenads. This type of subject was especially popular on vessels used during symposia (drinking parties). Moreover, this Greek social tradition was adopted by Etruscan aristocrats. It is possible, then, that this beautifully crafted sculpture may have been made to decorate a bronze oinochoe (wine pitcher) or krater (mixing bowl for wine and water). Accomplished bronze-work had long been a part of Etruscan culture and it is the skillfulness of this piece, along with the detail-oriented patterning of the surface, that identifies it as Etruscan workmanship.

Etruscan (Italy)
Satyr Holding Maenad
ca. 550-525 BC
Bronze
H. 3 3/8 in. (8.57 cm.)
Eskenazi Museum of Art, Acquired from the estate of Thomas T. Solley, 2008.244